A Call to Action

All those associated with the United States Merchant Marine Academy are conscious of the established code of honor, “[I]A Midshipman will not lie[/I][I],[/I][I] cheat[/I][I],[/I][I] or steal[/I].” This code of morality is at the foundation of this Academy and every Midshipman pledges to uphold this honor code upon their indoctrination into the Academy. Having taken a vow to defend this code and uphold its values, any Midshipman caught violating this code should be subject to disciplinary action and possible disenrollment. However, this is no longer the case.

The past few years at the Merchant Marine Academy have been tumultuous indeed. Having gone through numerous superintendents and commandants, the Academy is lacking effective leadership and direction. More often than not in my time here, the Academy has been under the guidance of its Academic Dean and Interim Superintendent, Dr. Shashi Kumar. Dr. Kumar is a respectable man, however the consistency and transparency that should be present in the Academy’s leadership simply does not exist. The current administration is gun shy about pulling the trigger and taking action in matters that require strong leadership and open communication. This has led to general disillusionment and malaise amongst the Midshipman of this Academy, who arrive plebe year with high hopes only to have them crushed by the toxic bureaucracy and rampant hypocrisy present in the system.

The inaction of the Administration and the refusal to consistently enforce the Academy’s rules and regulations, has trickled down the ranks to the Midshipmen and created a culture of moral relativism within the regiment where students no longer recognize the difference between right and wrong. The administration, by not providing a firm hand and enforcing the Academy’s regulations and honor code, has inadvertently created an epidemic within the regiment of disregard for the regulations and the honor code. The regiment is rampant with cheating, stealing, and even drug use; a direct result of the inadequacy of the administration in enforcing Academy standards.

The defectiveness of the Academy’s leadership can be seen most distinctly in its honor system. Over the past few years, the administration has failed enormously in enforcing the Academy’s honor code and Midshipman who should have, according to our code, been disenrolled are allowed to stay at the Academy. One case consisted of three female midshipmen admittedly collaborating on a final exam. They received only restrictive punishment and come senior year each one was given an officer position. Last year, a female midshipman admittedly took pictures of a final exam. She was honor boarded, merely set back, and upon her return to the Academy was given an officer position in her respective company. This year, however, takes the cake with the inability of the administration to adhere to the Academy’s code. Three female Midshipman were found guilty with separation, eight to one, by a jury of their own peers. The extent of their crimes includes climbing through the ceiling into a professor’s office, stealing a test, and subsequently lying about having done so. As of Friday, February 25[SUP]th[/SUP], the honor case surrounding these three girls, who violated every ideal this Academy represents, has been dropped and they will be allowed to graduate and call themselves an alumni along with the rest of us. An action that would have resulted in arrest at any other institution, is not only excused by the administration, but encouraged through its inability to adhere to and enforce the honor code of the Academy.

Additionally, the double standard at this Academy needs to be addressed. In every one of the cases previously mentioned, the perpetrator was a female. Whereas every one of the previous Midshipmen received little to no punishment for their violations, male midshipmen in the same position are given punishment to the full extent of the honor code. One male midshipman plagiarized a portion of a paper, admitted guilt, and was setback without a second thought. Females are allowed to essentially violate any rule or regulation without swift or just punishment. There is no equality within the regimental system, and when females are allowed to get away with murder, the males at the Academy come to resent them. The difficulties of being a female at an Academy are clearly present, but special treatment by the administration only creates a more hostile environment. It is understood that the Academy must fulfill a diversity requirement, but how can it be expected to recruit more females or minorities when the Academy presents potential recruits with students who blatantly disregard its ideals?

The administration has clearly been inefficient in maintaining Academy standards. This is made even more obvious by the recent drug bust at the Academy. Several Midshipmen were found in possession of large quantities of drugs, and were acting as suppliers to the rest of the regiment. This is yet another example of administration’s failure to uphold standards. This type of behavior would not exist if students did not think they could get away with it, a direct result of the administration not taking action in disciplinary matters.

Clearly, the administration is not entirely at fault. The Midshipmen are the ones who pledge to uphold the honor code, and each and every one has a moral responsibility to follow the Academy’s rules and regulations. Our placement at Kings Point is a gift that has been granted to us. We are given the opportunity and the training to become leaders both in the Armed Services and the Maritime industry, all on the generosity of the tax payer. However, the administration’s laissez faire approach to guiding and leading the regiment is clearly responsible for the moral degradation that has bourgeoned in the regimental system. The administration has not been following the Academy’s mission of “[I]educating and graduating officers and leaders of honor and integrity[/I]”, but instead has been promoting its Midshipman to live in a way contrary to the Academy’s ideals.

Something needs to change at this Academy. It is nothing less than heartbreaking that a Midshipman or an Alumnus is embarrassed to call Kings Point their Alma Mater. No institution can function properly with an organization of people who do not abide by its codes, and when the administration does not abide by the same then change must come from the top.

Nothing can be accomplished through inaction, we’ve seen distinct proof of this in the dealings of the Academy’s administration. Therefore, the time for [B]action[/B] is now. Contact congressmen, flood the DOT with complaints, do whatever you can to send the message that the Midshipman and the Alumni will no longer stand for the depreciated state of the Academy. If we do not take action now, I fear that our Academy will not see another five years. Act now. “[I]Acta non Verba”.[/I]

[B]Response from Dr. Shashi Kumar, Master Mariner - Interim Superintendent, regarding the Honor Code case. Dr. Kumar writes (022512):[/B]

“There are two sides to every story. If I am guilty of anything, it is upholding the Constitution of the U.S. I believe everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and in this case, guilt was not established. I have an obligation to take care of every MIDN here, and not one group or the other. I will never take disenrolling a MIDN lightly. It is important that honor board hearings follow the due process and that there is a preponderance of evidence against the accused prior to a disenrollment decision. Let alone the absence of such evidence, there were far too many violations of due process in this case as well, including the Honor Board Chair’s active participation in the deliberations despite being told to recuse (because of adversarial relations with at least one of the accused). So, regardless of which way I decided, this was bound to upset someone.”

”The Honor Board decision and all related materials were thoroughly reviewed by the Acting Commandant for a full three week period. He observed a variety of problems and hence, overruled the Board. Once it came to me for my final decision, I reviewed the materials for a good couple of days. Given the complexity of the case, I sought legal assistance from the Academy Attorney who reviewed it and agreed with the Commandant. So, after two levels of mature review and counsel, I decided to overrule the Honor Board decision.”

”Everyone did a lot of hard work but we need to move on. So, during the last two days, the Commandant, the Attorney and I met with all key players including the jurors and Honor Board members, and explained to them our rationale for overruling their decision. We also wanted to use this as a learning experience for all with the objective of making our processes better, including clarifying the Honor Manual and paying attention to due process in these proceedings.”

Greetings Fellow KP Alumni Chapter Presidents:
We have all received, this evening 022512, the e-mailing from Midshipman Jessica L. Willey, 2/C. While it is true that “issues” exist in any organization, and certainly all college campuses, there are due processes in place to deal with such issues. The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Regimental System exists to address these issues, and to operate through an established chain of command. This system is likewise firmly in place in the “Real World”, including the uniformed services, aboard ships, and in all of Corporate America.

The specific issues to which Midshipman Willey refers are known to many. I was made aware of these recent incidents by Dr. Kumar - Interim Superintendent. Some of the issues cited by Midshipman Willey occurred on previous “watches” to those of Dr. Kumar.

The entire world is aware of the adamancy with which the KP Alumni - Chapter Presidents Alliance champions the support of our Midshipmen. If there exists a deficiency in the addressing of issues by the Academy administration, there are a number of well meaning KP Alumni who are quite vocal and eager to act on behalf of our Midshipmen.

I have full confidence and support in Dr. Kumar, that he has justly dealt with the issues cited by Midshipman Willey, in a timely and professional manner. I have received a detailed accounting of the recent Honor Board case, and have been made aware of the most recent Midshipman drug related offenses. Every administrative level of MARAD and the DOT, including DOT Secretary LaHood, have been made aware of the latter issue. Federal, State, and local law enforcement officials were notified, and have acted swiftly and decisively.

Our Midshipmen receive every measure of support that is possible from the KPA-CPA and our individual KP Alumni Chapters. We are quick to respond to any need or issue that arises. We encourage our Midshipmen to reach out to us, in a professional and constructive manner.

I am, however, concerned about a mass broadcast e-mail to all 125 Chapter Presidents worldwide, providing [I]“a Midshipman’s point of view”.[/I] I am also concerned that even after our Midshipmen, including Midshipman Willey 2/c, have been counseled by Dr. Kumar, Acting Commandant Captain DeStafney, and competent legal authority on campus, Midshipman Willey has chosen to broadcast to our membership [I]“A Call to Action.”[/I] Further, she suggests that it is time for the KP Alumni to [I]“flood DOT with complaints”,[/I] and to[I]“contact our Congressmen”[/I].

I am also concerned about the slanderous and potentially libelous nature of allegations levied by Midshipman Willey 2/c against the current Academy administration, including the competency of Dr. Kumar.

As graduates of the USMMA, we certainly believe in the values espoused in the honor code. We believe in the right of due process of the accused, and in the right of appeal for any legal judgment. We also believe in the value of the Chain of Command, as established by the Regimental System. We support the right of each Midshipman to be heard, and the right to dissent. There is a proper manner for preserving the rights of all Midshipmen. I suggest that this “Call to Action” mass broadcast by Midshipman Willey 2/c is not the appropriate format for action.

Lastly, I believe that the advising of “contacting our Congressman” regarding every issue or complaint that occurs is grossly ill-founded. Our nation is in a most perilous debt crisis, as is much of the world economy. I believe that it is wise to keep our contacts with our Congressmen to a single focused issue - that of requesting funding support for the Academy FY2013 Budget!

This is [I]“a Chairman’s point of view.” [/I]I represent and serve the interests of our membership, by whom I am democratically elected. I will certainly respect any opinions differing from my aforementioned position.

[FONT=luxi-sans-1]Fraternally,[/FONT]
[FONT=luxi-sans-1][FONT=Monotype Corsiva]Gary[/FONT]
Gary G. Hicks ‘76
Chairman[/FONT]

Gary, I am a 1962 graduate of USMMA, a retired Chief Engineer, and I have a few thoughts to share with you. West Point is the soul of the US Army, Annapolis is the soul of the US Navy, US Air Force Academy and US Coast Guard Academy are the souls of their respective memberships within the Armed Forces of the United States. The United States has done it again, we have allowed our Merchant Marine to drop to nearly nothing, 95% of all cargo transported by ships in and out of the United States is accomplished by foreign flag companies. Now I question, what soul remains for the USMMA, we might as well name Kings Point the United States Corporation Academy. The mission of Kings Point, the one framed and placed on the walls of all our barrack rooms, along with the quote from Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, USN (you may recall it was about Sea Power and the role the U. S. Merchant Marine played in the defense of the United States) are no longer on the walls today. Where were the folks in the USMMAAA when one US Maritime Shipping Company after another dropped its flag? Kindly take a look at my profile on this forum, take note of my pictures, you will see a collection of ships selected to represent four decades since I graduated. Except for MSC virtually all the Steamship Companies with whom I worked for are now long gone. Breaks my heart and I really do not need to post what I think of the USMMAAA and their lack of trying to stave off this disaster. Remember, I lived and worked during this disastrous time frame. I read where the Alumni Association is sending a retired General to lobby Congress on behalf of Kings Point. While all this is well and good where was this lobbying when the flags of US Steamship Companies were lost (were they not proudly hanging on the overhead of O’Hara Hall?). If the US Merchant Marine is no longer relevant tell me where is our soul these days. If we are to save Kings Point we need a United States Merchant Marine. See if you can do something to bring back our maritime fleet. If you respond with excuses do not bother to reply. I heard most of them.
Acta Non Verba
John O’Brien

The “Call to Action” should include a remedial English course for Master Mariner Kumar. His was among the worst written pieces of propoganda to slither out of that tax sinkhole in memory.

As far as the outrage, give us a break. Close the silly place and put an end to the high school nonsense.

This has led to general disillusionment and malaise amongst the Midshipman of this Academy, who arrive plebe year with high hopes only to have them crushed by [B][I]the toxic bureaucracy and rampant hypocrisy present in the system[/I][/B]

This simple sentence says volumes and I sincerely thank you for your articulate and profound words of truth.

I am very happy now that I am no longer alone (not that I ever was but it is nice for someone else taking the lead). This subject deserves continual open discourse and I thrilled that we can revisit such an important matter.

.

Lastly, I believe that the advising of “contacting our Congressman” regarding every issue or complaint that occurs is grossly ill-founded. Our nation is in a most perilous debt crisis, as is much of the world economy.[U] [I][B][SIZE=3]I believe that it is wise to keep our contacts with our Congressmen to a single focused issue - that of requesting funding support for the Academy FY2013 Budget![/B][/I]

[/U]Fraternally,
Gary G. Hicks ‘76
Chairman [/SIZE]

It cannot be any more further telling to read very words written by the chairman of the USMMAAA to be literally more concerned by wheedling and strong-arming yet MORE MONEY from the US Congress for a FAILED INSTITUTION than to address the CORRUPTION that clearly exists within its crumbling walls.

[B]NOTHING EVER POSTED HERE BY ANY RABID KINGS POINT SUPPORTER HAS MORE CLEARLY ILLUMINATED OR COULD BETTER VALIDATE EVERY ONE OF MY PREVIOUS COMMENTS CONCERNING THE INDEFENSIBILITY OF THE CONTINUED FUNDING OF THE USMMA THAN THIS GROTESQUE AND SELF SERVING STATEMENT!

[/B]A gushing and effusive thank you with all sincerity to Gary G. Hicks KP '76 for both discrediting himself, his fellow graduates who support him as chairman of the USMMAAA and of course, for allowing the daylight right in to show clearly the maggots feeding on the rotting corpse that is the remains of what once was the US Merchant Marine Academy.

Never in my dreams have I believed such utterly revealing words would ever be delivered to me from heaven…God bless you sir.

.

[QUOTE=c.captain;64102]It is further much more telling to read very words written by the chairman of the USMMAA to be literally more concerned by wheedling and strong-arming yet MORE MONEY from the US Congress for a FAILED INSTITUTION than to address the CORRUPTION that clearly exists within its crumbling walls. [B]NOTHING EVER POSTED HERE BY ANY RABID KINGS POINT SUPPORTER HAS MORE CLEARLY ILLUMINATED EVERY ONE OF MY PREVIOUS COMMENTS CONCERNING THE INDEFENSIBILITY OF THE CONTINUED FUNDING OF THE USMMA THAN THIS GROTESQUE AND SELF SERVING STATEMENT! [/B]Thank you with all sincerity to Gary G. Hicks KP '76 for both discrediting yourself, your fellow graduates who support you, the USMMAAA and of course, for allowing the daylight right in to show clearly the maggots feeding on the rotting corpse that is the remains of what once was the US Merchant Marine Academy. Never in my dreams have I believed such utterly revealing words would ever be delivered to me from heaven…God bless you sir. .[/QUOTE] Don’t hold back c.captain, give us the straight dope.

This is hard on me, I’m seeing my Academy die. I’m not angry at forum members wanting to see this happen, I’m furious that it finally has come to this. There was a time to prevent such, as I posted, KP lost its soul. There is virtually no US Merchant Marine. I’m angry. For all you KP haters, the fault, Dear Brutus, is not in the stars, it is within us. This need not have happened. I’m angry.

Don’t hold back c.captain, give us the straight dope

That’s the problem with those little pink pills my own Dr. McCoy gives me…they ever so slightly dull the edge of the blade and the cut is never quite as clean.

Have you ever seen the History Channel program where the showed a true process behind the making of a genuine Samurai Sword? Those craftsmen took years to make one single blade! Folding the steel back onto itself over and over with hand hammer blows and then honing and polishing with what would seem forever. Amazing!

That’s it!..My very own Wyle E. Coyote moment! We’ll send the late John Belushi to be the next Superintendent of KP!

[video]http://videosift.com/video/John-Belushi-Samurai-Deli-w-Buck-Henry[/video]

Don’t get me started on the Bluto Blutarsky references…Belushi was one of the funniest humans in history! RIP Good Samurai (born: 1/24/49 died 3/5/82…yes, thirty years ago! Oh the billions of laughs lost to mankind)

Oh God NO!..the SNL, Blues Brothers and Animal House flashbacks are happening again!

//youtu.be/0Dy2fo6E_pI

GOD PLEASE MAKE THEM GO AWAY! I DON"T KNOW IF I CAN TAKE ONE MORE NIGHT OF THIS?!?

[QUOTE=Sweat-n-Grease;64118]For all you KP haters … [/QUOTE]

Sweat,

Don’t fall into that “KP haters” trap, it is a strawman called up by those who cannot find any other explanation for calls to close the institution. No rational person hates a piece of real estate but no rational person can support the waste and corruption that KP has come to represent.

KP, as has been so clearly shown by the “call to action” letters and internal responses, is so immersed in its own myths that even new students are indoctrinated with the mind set that is responsible for the wretched performance of MarAd in general and the condition of the US Merchant Marine. KP only serves to serve its alumni and reinforce the failure of MarAd and its bastard offspring. The only components of the American maritime industry KP serves and defends is its own existence, and that only because when the institution falls so does the power of those who protect and defend it from reality.

We can no longer afford the sophomoric actions of KP leaders and the dangerous incompetence and ingrained misfeasance of its graduates who move so easily into government.

[QUOTE=c.captain;64125]Oh God NO!..the SNL, Blues Brothers and Animal House flashbacks are happening again!

GOD PLEASE MAKE THEM GO AWAY! I DON"T KNOW IF I CAN TAKE ONE MORE NIGHT OF THIS?!?[/QUOTE]

Oh my my … would some ritalin help?

[QUOTE=Steamer;64134]Sweat,

Don’t fall into that “KP haters” trap, it is a strawman called up by those who cannot find any other explanation for calls to close the institution. No rational person hates a piece of real estate but no rational person can support the waste and corruption that KP has come to represent.

KP, as has been so clearly shown by the “call to action” letters and internal responses, is so immersed in its own myths that even new students are indoctrinated with the mind set that is responsible for the wretched performance of MarAd in general and the condition of the US Merchant Marine. KP only serves to serve its alumni and reinforce the failure of MarAd and its bastard offspring. The only components of the American maritime industry KP serves and defends is its own existence, and that only because when the institution falls so does the power of those who protect and defend it from reality.

We can no longer afford the sophomoric actions of KP leaders and the dangerous incompetence and ingrained misfeasance of its graduates who move so easily into government.[/QUOTE]

I have to agree with you, Steamer. I’m all ready getting some heat due to my realization that the end point has been passed, and quite a while ago, and posted these thoughts. Still, it is sad and I’m angry that it came down to this. I see where a high ranking Officer in the Marine Corps has been appointed to what we called back in my years at KP as “the ROC.” Trying to distance myself from it all, so I can best grasp all the links, seems hopeless. Yea, sad!

Something people may want to consider is the culture the superintendent came from. After attending a grad school which was about 33% Indian, I can say that Indians do not have the same value system that Americans do. Not to say that we are better than them. The Indian culture is not concerned with academic honesty and they will do ANYTHING to succeed. When you live in a country of over a billion people, you really have nothing to lose when you are trying to find a way out. It probably wasn’t the best move to hire someone from that culture to enforce an honor code.

The particular allegations raised in the original post to this thread raises yet more evidence of an unforgivable loss of a moral compass at the USMMA. Before these charges were raised there were messers Gotay and Mund and the possible pimping of male midshipmen to “service” a high ranking MarAd official. Now we hear of rampant lying, cheating and stealing within the festering heap that is the USMMA of 2012. Drug dealing from within the compound! Staggering to near disbelief and what does the Chairman of the USMMAAA have to say? “I hear nothiing, see nothing and say nothing!” God forbid that ANYTHING stand in the way of that MONEY!

THE MORAL DECAY AT THE UNITED STATES MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY IS TREADING A LINE CLOSE TO CRIMINAL AND THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF THE US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SHOULD IMMEDIATELY BEGIN AN INVESTIGATION AT KP WITH THE INTENT OF TURNING EVIDENCE FOUND OVER TO THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SO THAT CRIMINAL CHARGES CAN BE FILED AGAINST THOSE WHO ARE AT THE EPICENTER OF THIS FILTHY AND OBSCENE CORRUPTION!

[U][I][B]SUSPEND THE KINGS POINT PROGRAM IMMEDIATELY UNTIL AN INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETE! TO CONTINUE TO KEEP THIS ABOMINATION OF A FEDERAL SERVICE ACADEMY OPEN AND OPERATING IS AN OUTRAGE AGAINST EACH AND EVERY UNITED STATES CITIZEN![/B][/I][/U]

[QUOTE=c.captain;64150]The particular allegations raised in the original post to this thread raises yet more evidence of an unforgivable loss of a moral compass at the USMMA. Before these charges were raised there were messers Gotay and Mund and the possible pimping of male midshipmen to “service” a high ranking MarAd official. Now we hear of rampant lying, cheating and stealing within the festering heap that is the USMMA of 2012. Drug dealing from within the compound! Staggering to near disbelief and what does the Chairman of the USMMAAA have to say? “I hear nothiing, see nothing and say nothing!” God forbid that ANYTHING stand in the way of that MONEY!

THE MORAL DECAY AT THE UNITED STATES MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY IS TREADING A LINE CLOSE TO CRIMINAL AND THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF THE US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SHOULD IMMEDIATELY BEGIN AN INVESTIGATION AT KP WITH THE INTENT OF TURNING EVIDENCE FOUND OVER TO THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SO THAT CRIMINAL CHARGES CAN BE FILED AGAINST THOSE WHO ARE AT THE EPICENTER OF THIS FILTHY AND OBSCENE CORRUPTION!

[U][I][B]SUSPEND THE KINGS POINT PROGRAM IMMEDIATELY UNTIL AN INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETE! TO CONTINUE TO KEEP THIS ABOMINATION OF A FEDERAL SERVICE ACADEMY OPEN AND OPERATING IS AN OUTRAGE AGAINST EACH AND EVERY UNITED STATES CITIZEN![/B][/I][/U][/QUOTE]

Good God Almighty!
I never knew about “Messers Gotay” nor about “Mundy.” Tried a google search and some potential slanderous results showed-up. Still, I do not know. My Gawd, my brother-in-law, who graduated from Annapolis in 1954, emailed me “be circumspect, John, until we know the truth.” If all this is true, Kings Point is toast, I am beyond angry.

Good God Almighty!
I never knew about “Messers Gotay” nor about “Mundy.” Tried a google search and some potential slanderous results showed-up. Still, I do not know. My Gawd, my brother-in-law, who graduated from Annapolis in 1954, emailed me “be circumspect, John, until we know the truth.” If all this is true, Kings Point is toast, I am beyond angry.

I am truly sorry for you that a part of your youth that you once held in esteem and with resepct has become such a ridiculous sham and farce. To me the place has always represented an idea which was perhaps of great value in WWII but which has steadily become more and more irrelevant and unsupportable with the passage of the decades. KP’s day has passed and it is in all reality now dead but the body remains on life support even though it can never ever become vibrant or alive again. It exists only on a ventilator supplied by the Congress. It’s time to “pull the plug” on the mortibund vegetable that is the USMMA but not one member in Congress has the needed courage. The old lady must be allowed to just die. For God’s sake, can’t some ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee have courage and faith and JUST DO IT!

.

Boy oh boy. C.Captain and grease monkey are really two of the weirdest, sickest freaks I have ever encountered. Get a life you bottom feeders.

You morons sound worse than broken records. What could have caused this malfunction in your brain system? Were you dis enrolled from KP for being a fruit cake ?

Yawn…can someone tell me what Mr. OnePost said? All I was able to make out was some tiny squeak.